Homepage Optimization Guide

How important is the homepage of your site? At first, this might seem like a dumb question. But many internet marketing professionals are taking a new look at how homepages are designed.

Your site’s homepage is where many potential customers will be first introduced to your brand. You want to make that first impression a great one. Let’s take a look at all the latest info on creating an engaging, SEO-friendly homepage.

Your Homepage is Important

Your homepage is a powerful way to connect with potential customers. When someone lands on your homepage for the first time, they should quickly understand who you are and what you do. The look, style and overall feel of your brand should be immediately clear (and consistent across all of your messaging).

Your Homepage Might Not Be So Important

Sometimes, your homepage doesn’t have a huge impact on your site’s position in the search results. You’ll find a few different schools of thought.

Some internet marketers say your homepage has no significant impact on your position in the search results at all. You don’t want to spend time or effort optimizing your homepage at all. Instead, work on a larger SEO strategy.

Other marketers say a homepage can have an impact on your site’s SERP. You should spend some time with keyword research and other optimization strategies for your homepage.

Personally, I think optimizing a homepage can help improve your site’s ranking. There are a few simple strategies you can implement. While they might not make a giant impact, every little SEO improvement adds up. Plus, done correctly, homepage optimization is quick and easy – so other optimization strategies are negatively affected.

Goals of Your Homepage

An effective homepage accomplishes three goals. The page:

  • Clearly explains the purpose of your company to both search engines and human visitors
  • Sets up a clear, intuitive site navigation where visitors can instantly find what they need
  • Establish your site’s authority with testimonials and other social proof

Homepage Optimization Strategies

Describe Who You Are and What You Do (Quickly)

Take a quick look at my homepage. Any new visitors are able to instantly understand that I’m an SEO expert.

Don’t be afraid to go big – both literally and metaphorically. Starting a page off with a big headline which reads something like “#1 Choice in Indoor Pool Supplies” might seem a tad sales-y, but visitors want a clear explanation of what you do.

Underneath your headline, you’ll want to then explain your services in greater detail. Here’s where you can include links to various service pages.

You’ll also want to describe some unique features about your business. Maybe you have specialized training in your field, or you’ve been in business for a long time. Briefly explain to the reader why you stand out from the competition.

Finally, explain what you can do for the customer. How will your product or service benefit their lives? For best results, a detailed Buyer Persona will need to be created. This helps you understand your potential audience. (Check out The Power of Buyer Personas for more info.)

Overall, you don’t need to flood your homepage with long content. Get your message across and then direct your customer to additional pages on your site. I recommend about 400 words or so for a typical homepage.

Pictures, videos and logos are also an option. A well-designed logo can explain your business in a single glance. Including a smaller version of your logo throughout your site helps reinforce your brand. Place the logo in a consistent spot on each page.

Present Clear Navigation

The basics are best. Navigating your site should be easy and intuitive. Remember, you never know exactly what page on your site will be the first one a new visitor sees. So include clear navigation to every major section from every single page.

Present Social Proof

People don’t necessarily trust brands. But people do trust other people – even people they don’t know personally. You’ll need to harness the power of social proof to succeed online.

You’ll want to include some of your best testimonials, reviews and client icons directly on your home page. Include about two or three, and then link to an additional testimonials page.

If you want to learn much more about the concept of social proof, check out Moz Founder Rand Fishkin’s great video “The Varying Effectiveness of Social Proof.”

Optimize Your Homepage…

But don’t obsess over too many technical strategies. For instance, the keywords on your homepage aren’t likely to have a huge impact on your site’s ranking.

Instead, optimize your homepage with visitors in mind – especially new visitors. Clearly explain who you are and what you do. Give visitors an intuitive way to explore your site. Showcase your happy customers.

Optimizing your homepage is the digital way of creating a great first impression. Is your homepage as great as it could be? Call us today to set up a free homepage review.